Concert Terror, Flynn Takes the Fifth
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Vol. 6, No.134
London Attack: At least 22 people were killed by an explosion at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England last night in what is believed to be a terrorist attack. Some children were among the dead. Another 59 people were wounded.
Police have arrested one suspect in connection with the bombing.
The bomb blew at the end of the show in the Manchester Arena, just as pink balloons were dropping from the ceiling. Early reports said it may have been a suicide bomb filled with shrapnel.
Witnesses said the whole building shook. One man whose wife was injured said he saw metal nuts on the floor.
The Fifth: In yet another revelation that damages President Trump, several news outlets report that former national security adviser Mike Flynn misled Pentagon investigators last year on his application for national security clearance, telling them that payments from the Russian television propaganda company RT came from an American company.
The information comes from a letter released Monday by the top Democrat on the House oversight committee. As a former military officer, Flynn is forbidden from taking payment from foreign governments and could be charged with a felony for lying on his security application.
Publicly, at least, Flynn is the primary person of interest in the investigation of Russian influence on the 2016 election.
Yesterday, Flynn refused a Senate subpoena to testify, citing his constitutional right against self-incrimination and potentially setting off a legal standoff. The retired Lt. General is also refusing to hand over documents and emails of his contacts with the Russians.
Flynn had said previously he would cooperate in exchange for immunity from prosecution.
He might still be in a bargaining mood if the Senate is willing. He might also be held in contempt of Congress, which could result in a criminal charge. Flynn is one of the Trump “fish” investigators are trying to catch in a widening net of investigation by both the House and Senate, the FBI, and a special counsel.
But wait, there’s more. CNN reports that in March Trump asked the directors of National Intelligence and national Security to deny that there had ben collusion between his political campaign and the Russians.
The Supremes: The Court ruled yesterday that the boundaries of two North Carolina congressional districts are unconstitutional because they were drawn relying too much on race. Republican legislators had argued that the districts were drawn with the more innocent intention of giving themselves partisan advantage.
The Supreme Court has previously ruled that only racially gerrymandering is unconstitutional. Democrats and voting rights advocates hailed the decision, saying it opens the door for more rulings just like it.
Hans von Spakovsky, a lawyer for the conservative Heritage Foundation, said in a statement, “The Supreme Court says race can be a factor in redistricting, but not the predominant factor, a rule that is so vague, so broad and so lacking in a definable legal standard that it is not really a rule at all.”
Death and Taxes: The Trump Administration is expected today to release what it calls its “taxpayers first” budget that calls for hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts to Medicaid, food stamps and disability benefits while pumping up spending for the military and President Trump’s border wall. Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said, “We are no longer going to measure compassion by the number of programs or the number of people on those programs. We are going to measure compassion and success by the number of people we help get off of those programs to get back in charge of their own lives.”
The Obit Page: Dina Merrill, the beautiful blonde actress who inherited two fortunes and owned the Mar-a-Lago estate before President Trump, has died at age 93. She was the daughter of Wall Street broker EF Hutton, and grew up spending six months a year cruising on the family yacht.
Merrill played the betrayed wife who loses her Liz Taylor in “Butterfield 8” (1960); the chic fashion consultant who loses Glenn Ford to Shirley Jones in “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father” (1963).